ISP Photography Exhibition Explores Identity

By Saif Salim '20
 
On the evening of Nov. 1, senior Alina Wilson welcomed guests to the opening of her photography exhibition – “Identity: Our Story” – in the Marvin Embree Art Gallery in the Heritage Hall Upper School. The exhibit was the culmination of an Independent Study Program project exploring self-concept and identity. Using theories from psychology, philosophy, and theology, along with her own personal experiences, Wilson sought to answer the question, “How and why are identities formed?”

In describing the exhibit, Wilson stated, “People are incredibly interesting subject matter. It’s amazing how much you can learn from simply observing and photographing day-to-day interactions. The unique people featured in my images have been strongly shaped by their personal identities and provide a visual element to the exploration of identity and common humanity.”

The exhibition – which runs through the end of November – includes 20 framed photos, each accompanied by a compelling question, such as, “Can you see the difference in my eyes” or “Can we overcome?” While the photos are the main attraction, the thought-provoking questions are what will make the gallery most memorable. Wilson encouraged guests to answer the questions or comment on the photos using a post-it note, then pin it to a cork board full of other responses.

“Alina’s interactive photo exhibition is evocative and engaging,” remarked Upper School art teacher Trish Winnard. “My thought after viewing the show was, ‘What truly does shape our identity?’ I really had to think about it ... and I’m still thinking!’”

When asked about her biggest takeaway from the project, Wilson responded, “I’ve discovered a lot about my own identity, but, more than that, I’ve learned about how similar we all are and why we do the things we do. For me, this project has really shed light on human nature.”
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